Sweet Liberty: Travels in Irish America by Joseph O'Connor, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Sweet Liberty: Travels in Irish America

Sweet Liberty: Travels in Irish America

by Joseph O'Connor
     
 
Award-winning novelist Joseph O'Connor's love affair with America began during his childhood holidays in the beautiful western Ireland wilderness of Connemara, which always seemed to be populated by American tourists. In Sweet Liberty, he takes readers on an idiosyncratic tour of the U.S. and offers a poignant, hialrious, and insightful travelogue.

Overview

Award-winning novelist Joseph O'Connor's love affair with America began during his childhood holidays in the beautiful western Ireland wilderness of Connemara, which always seemed to be populated by American tourists. In Sweet Liberty, he takes readers on an idiosyncratic tour of the U.S. and offers a poignant, hialrious, and insightful travelogue.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
O'Connor, who was born in Dublin, set out to write a book on the U.S. based on the nine towns in America named Dublin. Arriving from Ireland, he lands in Boston, where he sees his first pornographic movie, is awed by the Boston accent, which reminds him of sheep talking, and suffers tremendous hangovers. In Dublin, N.H., he finds disappointment, as the town "was so small it was almost portable." Then a side trip to New York City, where he admires drag queens in Greenwich Village, incorrectly describes the Brooklyn Bridge as towering over the Hudson and observes that "New Yorkers are basically children." His condescending attitude continues as he visits Dublins in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia, Texas and California. The author, the brother of Irish pop icon Sinad O'Connor, seems only to enjoy himself on a side trip to Nashville, where he enthusiastically worships at the shrine of Elvis and contemplates the connection between the Everly Brothers and the poetry of William Butler Yeats. A travelogue for the hip who won't be upset with snide comments passing as humor and insight. (Sept.)
Library Journal
O'Connor was born in Dublin, Ireland, and has won several literary awards, including the 1990 Time Out Travel Writing Prize. Curious to see how the Irish people have influenced America, he traveled to nine cities named Dublin in America as well as visiting such Irish bastions as New York City and Boston and exploring Dallas, Graceland, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas. O'Connor livens up his narrative with personal anecdotes about the perils of a New York City motel room or the difficulties of trying to buy a beer on a warm Sunday in a dry Southern town. He muses on why the great accounts of travel never discuss laundry and the longevity of Elvis Presley's popularity. All along the way, strains of Irish music follow him, and he discusses the influence it has had on America. Highly recommended for any travel collection.Katherine Ellerton, Missouri Research & Ed. Network (MOREnet), Columbia
Kirkus Reviews
A young Dublin-born novelist takes a lighthearted journey across America, visiting nine towns named Dublin (in nine different states), a number of cities in which Irish immigrants created distinctive communities, and some other, more uniquely American, sites, including Graceland and the Grand Canyon.

More often than not, O'Connor (whose 1992 novel Cowboys and Indians was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize) found few traces of Irish origins in the American Dublins; one was named after two colonial inns that were joined together and named "Double-inns." He did discover an Irish-American population consumed with sentiment for the imagined old country, a vision at odds in many ways with current realities in the Irish republic. His obvious narrative skills are somewhat dissipated by the inclusion of brief, rather formulaic descriptions of some of the sites he visited. The writing is further marred by some severely strained metaphors—perhaps the result of attempts to satisfy a reader's expectation of proverbial Irish wit. O'Connor lampoons some of the dark elements of American culture, ranging from the antebellum South to rip-off cabbies, from Boston slums, porn shops, and movies to social corrosion and the butchery of the English language, from school security guards with metal detectors to greasy fast-food joints. He admires our freedom of religion in contrast to Ireland's religious/political warfare, and comments persuasively on the influence of Irish music on American country ballads. O'Connor seems never far from a pub in his boozy travels, and these visits are invariably followed by fierce morning hangovers. He gives the impression of searching too desperately for the fresh, the odd, and the hilarious.

Little that is startling or new.

From the Publisher
“The laureate of the rising Irish generation.”
Irish Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570981517
Publisher:
Rinehart, Roberts Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/1997
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.88(w) x 8.89(h) x 0.96(d)

Meet the Author

Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin. He has written ten widely acclaimed and bestselling books including the novels Cowboys and Indians; Desperadoes; The Salesman; Inishowen; Star of the Sea; and Redemption Falls.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Dublin, Ireland
Date of Birth:
September 20, 1963
Place of Birth:
Dublin, Ireland
Education:
B.A., University College, Dublin, 1984; M.A., 1986; University College, Oxford, 1987; M.A., University of Leeds, 1991

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